Adwords makes 'Close Variant' matching mandatory
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
On August 14th 2014, Google announced that in late September 2014 they will be removing the ‘close variant’ matching behaviour targeting option from within AdWords accounts, so that it will now be enabled automatically on all keywords an advertiser wants to appear against.
The ‘close variant’ matching behaviour was introduced in May 2012 and since then advertisers had the option to disable this feature. This change essentially means that advertisers will no longer be able to select the exact keyword they want to appear against.
WHAT IS THE ‘CLOSE VARIANT’ MATCHING BEHAVIOUR?
With the ‘close variant’ matching behaviour enabled, search ads are triggered against the use of misspelling, singular and plural forms, stemming, accents and abbreviations.
WHY HAS GOOGLE MADE THIS CHANGE?
Google states that it made this change to make it easier for advertisers to connect with consumers who are searching for keywords closely related to the keywords the advertiser wants to appear against.
According to Google, advertisers using close keyword variations, receive an average of 7% more exact and phrase match clicks. So essentially, making the ‘close variant’ matching behaviour standard, means that Google will be growing the number of search queries that advertisers are bidding against thereby increasing Google ad revenue.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS?
- HIGHER VOLUME OF SEARCHES WILL BE CAPTURED
As exact and phrase match keywords will now capture other permutations it is likely that existing keywords will deliver more search volume. In 2013, John Wiley, Google’s lead for user experience on Search, revealed that 15 percent of search queries have never been seen before by Google and we know search patterns have been changing with the growth in mobile and voice search. Through Google enabling ‘close variants’ as default, it will ensure that advertisers capture previously undiscovered terms without needing to add terms in ‘broad match’ that would have otherwise resulted in less relevant terms.
- RISK OF APPEARING AGAINST IRRELEVANT SEARCHES As the change will allow keywords to be triggered against different permutations of searches, there is a risk that search ads will appear against keywords which are irrelevant.
- UNINTENTIONALLY ASSIGNING WRONG MAX BIDS TO KEYWORDS The MEC search team assign maximum bids at the keyword level to ensure accounts are as optimised as possible. Bids are determined by how valuable we believe a keyword to be and are usually influenced by key metrics such as Cost per Acquisition (CPA) or Return on Investment (ROI).Effectively, the keyword ‘Chauffer’ at a max CPC bid of €1.50 could appear against ‘Chaffeurs’ even though the max CPC bid for that keyword was only assigned up to €0.50.This essentially means that we won’t have the level of control we used to with the ‘traditional’ exact match type which our teams used.
- SELF-COMPETITION COULD INFLATE CPCS The price paid for clicks within AdWords is partly based upon the volume of competition for keywords. Click prices are determined by supply and demand, if a keyword is desired by many advertisers, they will bid for that keyword and so the cost of that keyword will be higher than a less popular keyword. As a result of the change in making ‘close variants’ mandatory, because many of an advertiser’s keywords may be eligible to appear against for the same search query, there is a risk that these keywords will actually unintentionally inflate the auction.
- NEGATIVE KEYWORDS ARE NOW EVEN MORE CRITICAL Google allows advertisers to use negative match to prevent an ad from showing to users searching for certain terms and thus filter out irrelevant traffic and prevent unwanted clicks.
As part of the MEC Search teams’ weekly optimisation, time is spent mining for negative keywords (and adding new keywords) through the AdWords ‘Search Query Report’. This will help ensure that the risk of appearing for irrelevant search queries is minimalised and accounts are run as effectively as possible. In the lead up to the change, MEC Search teams will ensure all negative keywords are migrated across all keyword campaigns and additional emphasis is placed on negative keyword mining as part of weekly optimisations.
To read the full MEC Point of View download Adwords makes 'Close Variant' matching mandatory
(pdf, 1.78 Mb)
If you have any further questions regarding this change, please contact one of your Search leads:
, Head of Performance UK: firstname.lastname@example.org
, Director of Search EMEA: email@example.com
, Director of Search NA: firstname.lastname@example.org
, Director of Search and Performance APAC: email@example.com